Lessons from Yoga Teacher Training

What do you get when 12 students and 3 teachers get together for at least 15 hours a day for 9 days straight?

This is what you get:

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They came to learn asana, the postures, their alignment and how to teach these postures to others but they got tears, laughter, joy, sadness, doubts, frustration, hope, break downs, misunderstandings, break throughs, friendships, possibilities, support, transformation, compassion, and love. Yoga is more than stretching, more than perfect alignment, more than a sweaty workout.

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They got connected to each other and to themselves in ways that would not have manifested if I didn’t put them all in a pressure cooker for 9 days. Even though I was the lead teacher, my role and sole purpose is to not show them how badass I am but to show them how badass they are and how inspiring they will be are already as teachers.

I’d have to say this group of students has been the most committed group of trainees I’ve been with who are not afraid to look within and dig out the aspects of themselves that prevent their true light from shining through.

When a group is not afraid to walk the path of svadhyaya, the 4th niyama (observances) of the 8 limbed path of yoga, and dive into the process of studying oneself to gain a better understanding of one’s true Self or Atman, we all grow faster than weeds.

Here are some nuggets worth sharing in no particular order:

  1. Trust the process and stop trying to control everything.
  2. Be your own loudest cheerleader and believe in yourself as much as you believe in the people you cheer on.
  3. Illusions are everywhere such as in movement, alignment, life, success, confidence, etc. Find the Truth not to guilt trip or shame yourself but to help you transcend the bullshit faster.
  4. Many of us are barely surviving. We are a touch deprived society. You need at least 12 hugs a day to thrive, 8 hugs a day to maintain, and 4 hugs a day to survive.
  5. Keep an open heart and an inquisitive mind.There are never absolute answers to any question. The best answer to any question is “it depends.”
  6. Find mentors and teachers who inspire you, who support you, who love you but don’t put them on a high pedestal unless you want your heart broken. They are neither higher or lower than you and at some point they will disappoint you. Remember they are human too and it’s not so much what mistake they made but more about how they handled the mistake they made that will make them your hero.
  7. Listen to the people around you not only with your ears, but with your eyes and with your heart. Hear what they are saying and also what they aren’t saying for the fear of your rejection is strong. We are all vulnerable. Meet everyone with kindness and love.
  8. Consider that the assholes in your life are your best teachers and not all assholes are asses.
  9. To be the best teacher you can be, you must always sit in the seat of a student.
  10. Be willing to flow with the waves of change.
  11. Do your best. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions.
  12. It’s ok to ask for help and guidance.
  13. When a broken heart bursts open, it beats louder and stronger than one thought it would and it’s ability to love becomes infinite.
  14. Teach from love.
  15. Teach deeply from love.

Thank you trainees for walking this path with me. I’ve learned a lot more than what’s on this list of 15 and I’m excited to take your class and be your student.

Combat Chaos with a Creative Flow

Let the holidays begin!

It’s that time of year when everyone’s talking about staying calm amidst the chaos and keeping things simple to survive the end of year shenanigans… everyone except me. No not I. I am creating chaos, causing a mess, doing too many projects at once while trying to save the world.

This is my life.  Everyday. Every week. Every month.

It’s been a full year of sorts and I would not go back and change a thing. Ok maybe I would’ve gone back to create more time for more blogging. It’s been a long time since I posted and mainly because I was not inspired to share my chaotic life. However today I was inspired to share this creative sequence that happened out of the clutter surrounding me. It’s an example of the mess I create. As if the holiday season was not enough, I decided to re-do our family room. As a result all the junk got moved into my yoga room and before I could use the mess as an excuse to not practice, I turned on some happy music, embraced the situation and went with the flow.

Peace begins with me.

I am instantly reminded that peace begins with me and that I can choose to flow thru life smoother than the chaos that life will throw at me. Moving around on my mat in this way also reminded me that the best way to navigate chaos is to step outside the boundaries and if all else fails, join the chaos.  Join me in this non-linear, no mat boundaries, messy yet controlled, creative and graceful kinda sequence.

So much fun! Let me know if you try the sequence:

  1. upward salute (sun salutation A to down dog)
  2. Right leg crescent lunge with side bend to revolved crescent lunge
  3. warrior 2 to reverse warrior 2
  4. side angle to 3 legged down dog
  5. star fish (side plank variation; pick up the front leg for more intensity)
  6. IT band stretch with push ups and then with thread the needle
  7. wide leg seated straddle forward fold
  8. IT band stretch with push ups on left leg
  9. half pigeon (stay upright instead of laying torso down) / mermaid
  10. seated twist or gomukhasana
  11. eka pada koundinyasana 1 or side crow, come back to counter open face seated twist)
  12.  half moon standing on right leg
  13. crow pose
  14. standing forward fold
  15. upward salute
  16. Repeat 1-15 for left side

p.s. hold each pose for anywhere between 5-8 breaths or whatever your heart desires.